NEW YORK (AP) – An organization that has successfully proven that President Donald Trump broke the law when he blocked Twitter critics sued him again on Friday, saying he continues to reject some accounts two years after losing in court.
Columbia University’s First Amendment Knight Institute sued Trump for the second time in Manhattan federal court for using his Twitter account @realDonaldTrump, saying the president and his team continue to block some accounts.
Some people identified in a lawsuit filed in 2017, along with dozens of others who were blocked based on the point of view, were unblocked, the action said.
But lawyers say the White House has refused to unblock those who fail to identify which tweet led to them being blocked and others that were blocked before Trump was sworn more than three years ago.
“There would be no need for another process to get the president to respect the rule of law and stop blocking people simply because he doesn’t like what they’re posting,” said Katie Fallow, senior lawyer at the Knight Institute, in a release.
The lawsuit identified as plaintiffs five individuals who remain blocked, including a digital expert from the American Federation of Teachers, a freelance writer and researcher, a former professor, actor, and Donald Moynihan, professor of public policy at Georgetown University.
Moynihan was unable to point to a specific tweet that caused him to be blocked because he periodically deletes tweets, the suit said. He added that when the institute pressed the White House to unblock Moynihan, the request was rejected.
The suit said the Knight Institute was informed: “Donald Trump does not intend to unblock people who were blocked before he took office or who are unable to identify a tweet that preceded and allegedly precipitated the blockade.”
He said at least 27 other Twitter accounts remain blocked.
A federal appeals panel concluded last July that Trump violated the First Amendment whenever he blocked a critic to silence a view. The panel of three judges concluded that the president’s daily pronouncements and observations were of a predominantly official nature.
A message asking for comments was sent to the Department of Justice.